Late last year when the announcement came that one of the world’s favourite bands were back together; the musical world was set alight with anticipation. Having reissued their entire back catalogue, the announcement of a new album was imminent; we were not disappointed with what followed, No Cities To Love, their first studio album in ten years.
Opening with ‘Price Tag’, Carrie Brownstein’s trademark vocals fill the air, the intricate guitars liven up the atmosphere. As Brownstein snarls “we never really checked, we never checked the price tag!” having approached this album with some trepidation, would it match up to their previous works and right from the off they’re out to prove that they’re still on top form.
There is an unrelenting energy present in the album, it has been noted by the band themselves that they sound possessed on these tracks, and whilst that may be true, they’re pouring every ounce of effort into these tracks and it really shows. ‘Surface Envy’ has a real swagger to it as the combined voices yell “we win, we lose.”
There’s a real intensity, it’s an album which demands your attention, and they hold you in the palm of their collective hand throughout every intense moment. A perfect exponent of this intensity is the brilliant ‘A New Wave’, one of the faster tracks on the album, which still features phenomenal ramshackle intricacy and Brownstein’s trademark delivery.
It’s followed by ‘No Anthems’ which, whilst it maintains the overall feel of the album, is much slower and more deliberate, there’s a clashing of guitars, a wall of noise, but the track is at the opposite end of the spectrum when compared to the likes of ‘A New Wave’.
‘Hey Darling’ is another track which stands out, as Brownstein’s vocals take to the fore, it’s a little more upbeat than most and fosters more of an indie pop environment. However, the band soon finds their punkier side on closing track ‘Fade’ as they close out in a typically heavy way. ‘Fade’ is somewhat heavier yet it seems a fitting end to such an intense collection of songs.
It’s clear to see that Sleater-Kinney have given No Cities To Love everything they had, at times you could perceive the band as being possessed. However, that effort has truly paid off, this album is the perfect comeback, it’s everything you want to hear from such a ferocious band, they’re back and they’re better than ever.